HONOR X9b 5G Review – A Tough Smartphone with Great Daily Performance

Last year, we witnessed the launch of the toughest smartphone from HONOR, the HONOR X9a 5G, which stormed the market in the Philippines as many people purchased the phone. Now, they have released the smartphone that will be its successor, the HONOR X9b 5G. Checking the specs of this year’s model, it is exciting to see the improvements from its predecessor. Let’s see in this review if it can uphold the standard set by the HONOR X9a 5G.

HONOR X9b 5G Specifications

OS:Magic UI 7.2, Android 13
Processor:Qualcomm Snapdragon 6 Gen 1
Display: 6.78″ 120Hz AMOLED
Wireless Connections:5G, Bluetooth 5.1, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, GPS, GLONASS, GALILEO, BDS
Memory:12GB+256GB
Connectors:USB Type-C, OTG
Cameras:Rear Camera:
Main – 108MP, f/1.8
Ultrawide – 5MP, f/2.2
Macro – 2MP, f/2.4

Front Camera:
16MP, f/2.5
SIM Card Slots:Dual SIM (Nano-SIM)
Battery:5,800 mAh
35W charging
Price:Php 16,990

The Design

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The HONOR X9b 5G retains some design language from its predecessor, with improvements in certain aspects. The model we received for this review comes in Sunrise Orange, featuring vegan leather that sets it apart from the typical plastic back panel found in other color models. Other available colors include Emerald Green, Titanium Silver, and Midnight Black.

One noticeable redesign in the HONOR X9b 5G is the rear camera ring, now adorned with gold-colored ridges on the outer ring. Apart from this change, the device maintains its triple-camera module on the rear, a curved display for the front display glass, and a metal frame.

The placement of buttons and ports is standard, with the power button and volume rocker located on the right side. At the bottom, you’ll find the speaker grill, microphone hole, USB Type-C port, and a SIM tray slot capable of accommodating dual nano-SIM cards. The fingerprint scanner remains under the display.

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The protection features of the HONOR X9b 5G have been improved. It now has an IP53 water and dust resistance, a great addition alongside its ultra-tough display. For its display, it has HONOR Ultra-Bounce Anti-Drop display with SGS Five-star Overall Drop Resistant certification, making you worry less when accidentally dropping or smashing your phone.

The Display and Speaker

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The HONOR X9b 5G screen is slightly bigger compared to its predecessor, now a 6.78” 120Hz AMOLED. For its resolution, it is 1220 x 2652 pixels with a 1200 peak nits brightness, slightly higher as well.

The display quality is great, with 100% DCI-P3 color space, providing better color compared to phones with only 100% sRGB color space. It also has TÜV Rheinland Low Blue Light Certification, preventing eye strain, and Circadian Night Display Technology to help improve sleep after using the smartphone.

For the speaker of the HONOR X9b 5G, like its predecessor, it still has a down-firing speaker, which may lag behind the competition in the price range, but the sound quality is good.

The Performance

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The HONOR X9b 5G has finally upgraded its processor to a newer Qualcomm Snapdragon 6 Gen 1 paired with a larger 12GB of RAM and 256GB internal storage. Here are the benchmark scores of the HONOR X9b 5G:

The results show that the new chipset brings much more performance to the table compared to its previous generations. It is a worthy change for better gaming performance.

When playing games on the HONOR X9b 5G, you will not have a problem with casual or esports games as it handles them smoothly. For graphics-heavy games like Genshin Impact, you can play at low graphics settings with minimal stuttering, and at high graphics settings, there will be more stuttering, but it is still playable.

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The thermal performance is decent, as when running a CPU stress test on the HONOR X9b 5G, the CPU throttled to 88% of its max performance. It also handles well when playing games.

The Camera

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The HONOR X9b 5G has seen improvements in its camera department. The rear main camera is now 108 megapixels compared to only 64 megapixels in its previous generation, capable of recording up to 4k@30fps or 1080p@30fps videos. Other cameras remain the same, with a 5-megapixel ultrawide and 2-megapixel macro on the rear, and a 16-megapixel front camera capable of recording up to 1080p@30fps.

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Images captured with the new 108-megapixel rear main camera show well-detailed, lively colors in well-lit environments. In low-light conditions, details are still there, but some graininess is apparent. Night mode artificially increases brightness and pops out colors, which might feel overly processed for some.

The ultrawide camera performance is limited with its 5-megapixel resolution. Pictures taken are grainy with poor detail, but it serves its purpose when needed.

Moving to the selfie camera, selfies from the HONOR X9b 5G are better, even with the same 16-megapixel front camera. It shows improved skin color with better subject detection.

The Battery

The HONOR X9b 5G now has a 5800 mAh battery, a great upgrade for prolonged smartphone use. With the efficient chipset and large battery capacity, it can last more than a day on a single charge. You won’t have to worry about it not lasting a day without charging.

When charging the HONOR X9b 5G, there is an included 35W charger in the box, slightly less than 5W from its previous generation. Charging from 0% to 100% takes under 1 hour and 30 minutes.

The Toughness Test

As HONOR claims that the X9b 5G is a tough smartphone, we conducted several tests to verify its claim without the case attached. We were impressed with the initial drops on tiles and wood flooring. However, when dropped on the cement pavement, the screen survived, but the lower part of the frame, which took the impact, got some dents. Nevertheless, they are relatively minor, resembling scuff marks.

Next was the smash test, where it survived encounters with fruits like apples. Additionally, our baby in the house played with the phone and accidentally smashed it on the floor when she got upset with the game. It was able to survive even with the baby test.

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Overall, we remain impressed, even though there are scuff marks on the frame from our drop tests. These could have been avoided with a case. However, for those prone to dropping their phones, the X9b still provides a sense of security even without a case.

HONOR X9b 5G Verdict

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The HONOR X9b 5G has improved in areas where its predecessor lacks. At the same price as the last year’s generation, it provides solid value, especially at under 20k pesos. It is a practical smartphone, especially for people who always have problems with their smartphones due to accidentally dropping or smashing their phones, resulting in a broken display or smartphone.

The improvement in its display, performance, battery, camera, and design makes it a great value smartphone, which we recommend if you are in the market for buying a new phone and your budget is under 20k pesos.

The HONOR X9b 5G is priced at Php 16,999 for its 12GB+256GB. If you pre-order from January 12 to 19, 2024, you will be getting a FREE HONOR Gift Box and HONOR Choice X5 Earbuds worth Php 4,000. You may order it via Lazada, Shopee, and Tiktok Shop.

9 Total Score
HONOR X9b 5G

The HONOR X9b 5G has improved in areas where its predecessor lacks. At the same price as the last year's generation, it provides solid value, especially at under 20k pesos. It is a practical smartphone, especially for people who always have problems with their smartphones due to accidentally dropping or smashing their phones, resulting in a broken display or smartphone. The improvement in its display, performance, battery, camera, and design makes it a great value smartphone, which we recommend if you are in the market for buying a new phone and your budget is under 20k pesos.

Design
9.5
Display
9.5
Performance
9
Camera
8.5
Software
8
Battery Life
9.5
Price
9
PROS
  • Durable display
  • Performance is good
  • Decent rear main camera performance
  • Much larger battery capacity
  • IP53 rating
CONS
  • Downgraded battery capacity
  • Poor performance for the ultrawide and macro cameras
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